Berne Stalenkrantz the chairman of The Swedish Drug Users Union->http://www.svenskabrukarforeningen.com] (SDUU) and Damon Barett, Human Rights Analyst at IHRA have made a joint submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee is currently reviewing Sweden’s compliance with its human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. See attached [document.
The SDUU/IHRA submission argues that in its failure to provide comprehensive harm reduction measures such as syringe exchange programmes, the Swedish Government is violating the right to health of people who use drugs, placing them at unnecessary and avoidable risk of HIV and HCV infection.
The SDUU/IHRA position is supported by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, who visited Sweden earlier this year and was also critical of the country’s poor implementation of syringe exchange. He stated that harm reduction was essential to enhance the right to health of people who use drugs. In 2006, the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights called upon the government of Tajikistan to roll out harm reduction services across the country as part of its HIV prevention efforts. It was the first UN human rights committee to make such a recommendation.
When states ratify UN human rights conventions they agree to report periodically on their implementation of the rights contained within those conventions. Each human rights convention creates an independent committee that oversees this “periodic reporting procedure”. NGOs and civil society are integral to this process and may submit “alternative reports” to the human rights committees (known as “treaty bodies”) highlighting human rights issues the government has omitted or perhaps misrepresented. They may also address the committees in person at specific NGO sessions.
Damon Barett Human Right Analyst at IHRA and Berne Stalenkrantz chairman of SDUU representatives will travel to Geneva in November to make an oral presentation on this issue before the Committee’s working group. (click on the Swedish flag for the report)
Love & Solidarity
] – Chairman
[Swedish Drug Users Union->email@example.com